A DAY IN THE PINES //

May 5th, 2010 by Chris

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It is funny how one day can mean so much to so many people. For many within the West Australian music scene and those that are fans of all things West Australian music, RTR’s annual twenty-band extravaganza; In The Pines is such a day. Being a presenter on RTR it is an unwritten rule that you help out during In The Pines, being a responsible server of alcohol I headed behind that bar after I caught the opening acts. Here’s my day out In the Pines…

Goodnight Tiger are new, they are young and they are immensely talented but the day and the occasioned seemed to get the better of them. You see opening ‘Pines is such a hard place to be, people are coming in, trying to find a spot to sit for the day, people are chatting, bands are loading in and for the most part only your friends are paying attention. I expect these two talented singers to be all over the place for the next few years.

Keeping the young theme going, Stereoflower took to Stage B. An enjoyable show overall, this is a band that has disposed of their overly contrived stage presence, instead concentrating on their music and performing that well. Next, the increasingly popular band, Erasers began their thirty minute set after breakfast presenter Peter Barr babbled his way through an introduction – oh how we all love Barr. Their experimental music is refreshing and although repetitive at times that is what they gravitate towards, I kinda dig it. It seemed to be a rule that no member of the first four bands were allowed to be older then twenty one, the youth and talent is immense no more so than in Windwaker. Having seen these guys a few times over the last year or so, their Pines performance was lack luster but I put this down to a new band member yet to be fully rehearsed, this will come.

I headed to the bar, to try to explain the difference between Coopers’ beers, dump my hands in freezing cold water and for the most part serve wonderful, polite people. I say for the most part because some people seemed to lack the understanding that they were at a community radio station gig, that the people serving them were volunteers and that the money made went straight back to the station.  Oh and to the guy that just pointed at things and complained it was Pepsi instead of Coke, asshole!

Being behind the bar did not stop me from hearing, and what I heard I certainly liked. Next Big Thing winners Art Martial did their thing and although sounding a little removed from the usual RTR band, they were tight and well rehearsed. More so they were loud and really lifted the mood in the afternoon, it was now a drink some wine and hit on a friend type of place.

Generals and Majors are a promising, uncompromising local band that set themselves a goal of playing In The Pines and they did well in a strange but rewarding timeslot. A three piece that sounded more like a four piece, they produced a well-rounded set.

Modularman have not been round long but have certainly gained themselves a lot of airplay across RTR. Their poppy yet proggy sounds endeared themselves to the by now sold out venue and a Coopers full crowd. Sean Pollard aka Split Seconds took up his place on stage with Ben Golby and Nat Carson in tow. His lovely pop music failed to translate to the live stage, with his performance lacking any real punch, unfortunately it was punch that was needed at that time of day. Punch was delivered by the genius that is Pedrag Delibasich and his band SmRtS. Fun, Baltic, energetic and captivating, my god they were so entertaining. I challenge any one at In The Pines to have not enjoyed SmRtS.

Rolling Stone’s band to watch Emperors did their thing over on Stage A. There’s nothing not to like about this band but at the same time there is nothing to really love. They go about their business with aplomb; churning out indie rock tunes that hark back to the golden age of Perth music.

The Autumn Isles do their pop, indie loveliness well and they always seem to be floating around the scene. Their brand of music can often lead to a less then engrossing set, but at In The Pines 2010, they had me sucked right in.

One of the more anticipated sets of this year event was that from Apricot Rail, the darlings of RTR over the last few years, their live shows are few and far between which is a shame. They are a wonderful band with floating melodies, soaring harmonies and delicate structures. Introducing some newer songs with vocals, they played quite the set, and provided a perfect introduction to the evening.

Taking up my position at the on-air booth behind the stage, I had an excellent vantage point for the next few hours. Ex-pats Jack On Fire changed things just a little from the pace of their predecessors. Their Drone’s like alt country sounds echoed throughout the Somerville Auditorium.

The leopard clad wonder that is Felicity Groom took her place with band The Black Black Smoke in tow. A super group of sorts, they set about a set that was energetic, rocking and thoroughly entertaining. Felicity Groom in her full leopard skin outfit engaged the crowd, which had now swelled towards the stage.

Mukaizake did their thing next, an RTR favorite, you would be stretched to go two days without hearing them on the station. This is a band that know exactly how to play live and god dam they know how to write pop songs.

To continue to the theme of bands that don’t play a huge amount live, The Wednesday Society did their angular, proggy thing. Their loud, raucous and thought provoking sounds blasted through the venue, waking up those in the back and making those in the front bop their head, not always in time it must be said but for a band that keeps things original and not straight down the line, its hard to be in time. Capital City makes no bones about the fact they are a down dirty rock and roll band. A job they do so very very well. Full of energy and gusto, Sam Scherr yelled down the microphone at, and to, a throbbing crowd, propelling his songs into the crowd. They are a perfect representation of the West Australian music scene.

The serene and enigmatic Schvendes made their way to Stage B. Wonderfully attired and with a horn section in tow, they set about their brand of morbid yet complicated tunes soared above the crowd, beginning the final flurry of the eve. Schvendes are an amazing band who pour emotion into their performances and engage the crowd through sheer talent and exquisitely arranged songs. Dressed like post-apocalyptic characters from Mad Max, The Tucker B’s were the penultimate act of the eve. They leave nothing to the imagination and have little to no heirs and graces about their performance. Their music may be slowly teetering on the dated but there is no doubting their ability to draw in a crowd and more so entertain that crowd like puppies at a pet shop.

Closing out In The Pines 2010, were the always available and always willing, The Bank Holidays. Popping up regularly around Pines time, they never fail to deliver a good set of wonderfully crafted pop music. Although familiar rather than inspirational The Bankies were quite the ending to a successful and wonderful Pines.

The night finished with a heart felt speech by Peter Barr to out going RTR Music Director Dave Cutbush, the swan song to a ten year love affair with In The Pines. That’s is the power and the beauty of this day, its not about a band, its not about a person, its not really about a radio station. It is about like-minded folk coming together to enjoy a day of new, known and even disliked live music. It is about the day, and I had a hell of a one.

Photos courtesy of Chris Wheeldon & Gemma Pike

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